Obama Deranges Terrified Citizens
August 09, 2009

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.   Of all the back-and-forth recriminations about this week's shriekfests at congressional "town hall meetings," the most maddening is that offered on Friday by the oh-so-eloquent wordsmith Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal. According to Noonan, arrogant Democrats are insisting on health care reform despite its obvious absurdity at a time like this, thereby "terrifying" citizens into protests against the outrage.

A Nation of Commentators
August 07, 2009

  “For two thousand years,” wrote Harold Rosenberg, “the main energies of Jewish communities have gone into the mass production of intellectuals.” For Rosenberg, the art critic who belonged to the receding constellation of writers known as the New York Intellectuals, such a claim was something between a boast and a self-justification. The New York Intellectuals were mainly second-generation Americans, whose self-sacrificing immigrant parents won them the opportunities America offered to newcomers, including Jews.

Exposing The Euthanasia Scare
August 04, 2009

Republicans have a stable of bona fide health policy experts. These are recognizable, sometimes quite partisan conservatives. Yet they are handicapped as political operatives by their residence in the reality-based community.

Give It Up
July 30, 2009

Twice during Wednesday night's press conference, reporters asked President Obama what sacrifices his health care reform plans would ask of the American people. It's a common and intuitive question: in order to give the public something--like a guarantee of health insurance that they can afford--the public has to give something up. Of course, it hasn't always worked that way in practice, like in the Bush years. But just because the last guy in the White House didn't demand the American people to pay for some policies doesn't mean the new guy should.

How Confused Are Americans About Health Care?
July 30, 2009

The New York Times' lede story today, which summarizes the paper's poll on health care and other issues, has taken flak from Mickey Kaus (second item). Here is the Times: Over all, the poll portrays a nation torn by conflicting impulses and confusion. In one finding, 75 percent of respondents said they were concerned that the cost of their own health care would eventually go up if the government did not create a system of providing health care for all Americans.

Must-read Of The Day: Obama Talks To Tumulty
July 30, 2009

Karen Tumulty got a lengthy, one-on-one interview with President Obama this week. They spent most of their time discussing health care--a topic, clearly, they both know well. Two particular passages caught my attention. The first was Obama's discussion of the rationing issue. It came after Tumulty asked the president about a story he'd told many times previously, about his grandmother getting hip surgery while she had terminal cancer. Wasn't that precisely the sort of treatment that was wasteful and unnecessary?

Do We Want Businessmen-doctors After All?
July 29, 2009

In response to my item about the sociology of doctoring--the idea that, more than any particular reform, we need fewer doctors who think of themselves as profit-maximizing businessmen and more who see themselves as adequately-compensated healers--a reader writes in with a fair point: I think you've got it backwards as far as cost control. If doctors are cold-hearted profit-maximizers, you can structure their incentives to conserve resources. If, however, their overriding concern is patient health, they are likely to remain stonily unconcerned about cost-effectiveness. Altruism will lead them t

Health Reform Critics And The Math They Won't Do, Cont'd.
July 29, 2009

Per my point about the unsustainability of health care costs and the unwillingness of reform-critics to acknowledge them, David Leonhardt passes along this helpful observation:   Health costs, on the other hand, are growing much more quickly than the economy. Over the last decade, the economy has expanded by about 20 percent, and health spending has ballooned 50 percent. The gap isn’t about to start closing, either. What say you Martin Feldstein? --Noam Scheiber

Rising Health Care Costs Top Public Conern
July 24, 2009

Interesting tidbit at the bottom of this Wall Street Journal story about GOP efforts to portray themselves as interested in health care reform: Resurgent Republic, a Web site that provides polling-based strategy for Republicans, noted that "there is a caveat" for the party's new, aggressive strategy.

The Politics Of Health Care Reform
July 24, 2009

On the front page of today's Washington Post, I read that health care reform is dying: Health Reform Deadline In DoubtProcess Could Be Slow And More Contentious Senate Majority Leader Harry M.